The Malaysian automotive industry has established a significant and robust manufacturing base, with more than 25 original equipment manufacturers and 700 parts and component manufacturers operating nationwide.
As one of only a handful of nations with automotive design and manufacturing capabilities, it has created an ecosystem in which strong fundamentals in automotive processes are practiced, based on quality management systems that are on par with global standards.
However, the design and manufacturing formula needs to be utilised in the grander equation that does not just meet consumer expectation, but changing consumer perception of local brands.
Unfortunately, consumers are not privy to the intricacies seen within the walls of the factory or the styling room. Consumer perception takes place mostly at two stages - the "purchasing decision environment", followed by the years of service when using and maintaining the vehicle they own.
In many advanced countries, consumer awareness surrounding vehicle ownership, particularly in the areas of vehicle maintenance, safety, and economic literacy, has demonstrated somewhat symbiotic relevance to the competitiveness of their domestic automotive sector.
Consumers having such awareness tend to make better decisions with regards to vehicle purchases, especially in terms of features that best fit their needs and use.
Therefore, despite the best enhancements initiatives at the upstream levels of design and manufacturing, the rejuvenation of the automotive industry must come hand in hand with reinvigorating excitement among consumers, ensuring they are abreast with new market introductions, and eager to invest their attention towards future trends in vehicle technology.
Since the NAP 2014 was announced, the automotive industry has seen an unprecedented level of consumer choices in car purchases.
We have seen competition among car makers through the numerous promotions given to the consumers during festive and year end promotions. The internet has allowed an elevated purchasing environment, with instant car price comparisons and "virtual showrooms" fast becoming a common sight.
To further spur this excitement, MAI will be organising the Malaysia Autoshow 2016 from the 10th to 13th November 2016. The Malaysia Autoshow is set to become the biggest composite annual automotive show in Malaysia with manufacturers and distributors of cars, bikes, trucks as well as aftermarket dealers exhibiting their products.
Last year, 32.6 percent of cars registered in Malaysia were certified as Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEVs), demonstrating not just a strong reaction from the industry in the production of EEVs, but also increased public participation and market consumption of vehicles with a higher degree of fuel efficiency and environmental friendliness.
With more than 60 new models on display at the Autoshow, it aims to spearhead the showcase of future trends in the auto industry, especially among the latest EEVs which also include electric, hybrid and diesel powered vehicles.
While consumers can expect to test drive the latest EEV models and receive special discounts at the Autoshow, more than 150 exhibitors from renowned vehicle brands, aftermarket and accessory products will lay out their extensive product range - making the showcase a year end milestone and significant closing to the year.
"Competition does not only provide choices to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress"
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.
This is the first part of a three-part series of articles in conjunction with the Malaysia Autoshow 2016.
For the second part of the series, click here